Kampot provincial governor Mao Thonin offered a former battlefield turned banana plantation as an example of one of the province’s great success stories.

“Once the site of immeasurable suffering, it is now a popular tourist attraction, while also producing up to 2,500 tonnes of export quality bananas. It also provides work for 2,000 local people,” he said at a February 16 press conference on “five years success of Kampot province”, organised by the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit at the Council of Ministers.

“It was once a terrifying battlefield that many people fled from. Now, many visitors travel there to learn about the growth cycle of Kampot bananas, and enjoy the lush surroundings,” he said.

He added that two companies received economic land concessions to grow yellow bananas there. Due to the success of the plantations, both of them planned to expand in the future.

“The provincial authorities are supportive of the agriculture sector. If their expanded cultivation is successful, I hope they will create more jobs and promote to local economy still further,” he continued.

He explained that while bananas are grown throughout the Kingdom, many of them are irrigated by the Mekong River and its tributaries. In Kampot, the delicious fruit are grown by fresh water that has flowed down waterfalls to reach the plantation. He believed that this made them much tastier.

“I am not underrating the others; this is just my own personal opinion. I have eaten many bananas from many provinces, and I do not think they compare. Kampot bananas are fragrant and have a sharp, distinct taste,” he said.

The provincial governor added that the expansion of banana plantations in Kampot would increase income in local communities, thus improving the day to day lives of the population of the province.

Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Chan Rith said the two plantations belonged to World Tristar Entertainment Co, Ltd, and Longmate Agriculture Co Ltd.

“Through the output of these two companies, Kampot currently exports around 200,000 tonnes of bananas a year,” he added.

He said the majority of the exports went to China, and noted that Chinese experts had consulted with the plantation owners when they were established.